04 October, 2010
Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to Greece from October 2 to 4, the first of its kind in more than two decades. Upon receiving him, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed that "this visit is the epitome of the dynamism and the friendship between the two people."
Addressing the Hellenic Parliament yesterday, the Chinese premier gave a "vote of confidence"
to Greece, saying that Beijing will continue to purchase Greek Treasury bonds and boost bilateral cooperation
in trade, shipping and transport, science and tourism.
"It is with joy that we see Greece emerging from the shadow of its debt crisis. […]We have every confidence in Greece's future," Wen told the Greek parliament.
He also added that his country was planning to double its annual trade volume with Greece to € 5,8 billion by 2015, as well as its imports of Greek products such as olive oil and wine.
Earlier, Wen held meetings with President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, and main opposition leader
Athens and Beijing signed a memorandum of cooperation
on October 2, pledging to stimulate investments in various fields so as to deepen bilateral strategic partnership. The memorandum, which consists of 13 bilateral agreements
on economic, industrial, and technological cooperation, aims to encourage new investments by both sides.
One of the most significant deals signed foresees the expansion of Cosco’s presence in Piraeus Port
with the view of transforming it into a regional hub for Chinese exports toward Europe.
During his stay in Athens, the Chinese premier visited the Acropolis
and the new Acropolis Museum
and suggested to Papandreou that Greece and China work together to campaign for the return of stolen antiquities and cultural treasures to their country of origin - including Greece's demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum.
Wen Jiabao informed Papandreou about the looting and destruction in 1860 of the old summer palace Yuan Ming Yuan outside Beijing by British troops. They followed the orders of British High Commissioner to China at the time Lord Elgin, son of Lord Elgin who had removed the sculptures from the Parthenon.
Source: GREEK NEWS AGENDA issued by the Secretariat Genera